Pioneering WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) recycler EnvironCom, whose philosophy is to do the right thing with WEEE so it doesn’t cost the earth, has announced that it is now achieving a 98% recycling rate for its fridges, thanks to the innovative work it is doing in recycling PUR foam, the insulation material found inside fridges.
Traditionally this material has been incinerated or landfilled but, in an industry first, EnvironCom has uniquely identified a manufacturing use for it, which has enabled the company to divert more than 2,200 tonnes of PUR foam from landfill and has resulted in the company achieving the highest fridge recycling rate in the UK. It has installed specialist equipment to enable it to prepare the PUR Foam for manufacturing.
EnvironCom is now sharing this best practice with the rest of the industry including its competitors, a move which clearly demonstrates that its philosophy to ‘do the right thing’ goes beyond the boardroom.
EnvironCom CEO Sean Feeney explains: "Many of the half a million fridges we receive every year from our retail partners and local authorities are in excellent condition for reuse, and can often easily be given a new lease of life by our teams of expert engineers. However, a percentage of them cannot and so we have been looking at how we can exploit them for their raw materials, in order obtain maximum value and to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
"As a result, we have been able to identify a manufacturing use for a material which until now has provided little value but presented a big environmental problem. And because we want to do the right thing we are sharing this innovation with others in order that, as an industry, we can all achieve best practice. It’s a win-win for everyone."
EnvironCom’s ‘reuse’ and ‘recycling’ model is substantially more beneficial to both the environment and the community than traditional methods of handling WEEE waste. It takes twenty times more energy to mine aluminium than to recycle it and it takes twenty times more energy to turn a scrap machine into a new machine than it does to repair and re-use it.